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Favorite/Best "Schooling" Quality Bridle?

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  • Favorite/Best "Schooling" Quality Bridle?

    On the search for a not-super expensive (about $150-ish, give or take) "schooling" quality bridle that I would not be ashamed to take into the show ring, if need be. The Beval Stamford is just not going to stand up to the hard use (uhhh... swimming?) to which I've been subjecting it recently (stitching coming loose, keepers stretching out, etc), even with good care.

    The SmartPak bridles are definitely on the list, but I wanted to get some other ideas, as well.

    If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous

  • #2
    I have a Treadstone bridle I use for schooling. I needed one quickly (mice had chewed through some pieces of my good Jimmy's custom one....) and sent my mom up to pick one up to use in the meantime. I have to say, for the price ($100) I was pleasantly surprised. It's a decent bridle, stands up to being used quite often, and is nice enough to go into the show ring if need be. I take care of my tack though....it all gets cleaned after each use....so I am sure this may have something to do with it. If you do the same, I am sure it would last and work for you as well!


    • #3
      If you are patient and scour ebay, the classifieds etc I am pretty sure you could come up with an excellent quality used bridle in that price range. I've seen Edgewoods and similar bridles sold for around that, in good condition.
      We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


      • #4
        I'm actually pretty impressed with my Ovation bridle for the price. I got a figure eight I on sale for about $80 to use as a schooling bridle. It is very soft and supple and I would not be ashamed to show in it some. Obviously not as beautiful as the really expensive bridles, but for under $100, I am pleased and would recommend it.


        • #5
          I have an HDR figure 8 that I use every day. It has held up really well... aside from a little deterioration of the sheepskin on the nose piece... but considering sweat in the summer its to be expected. Its soft and looks nice on as well. I think it was around $100.


          • #6
            I have a treadstone that is surprisingly gorgeous.

            I wouldn't expect most leather to want to hold up to consistent swimming, though. When we took our horses to the beach a few years ago, I put a Tack-A-Tack bridle on him - the sort of biothane bridle that you can clean in a bucket of water. It held up pretty nicely for that sort of thing and was very easy to deal with.
            They're small hearts.


            • #7
              I have an ovation with a padded "comfort" crown... it's an edgewood knockoff. It needed darkening oil to be dark and not orange, but it's tough, and has stood up thus far to use on a horse that sweats like crazy in Houston.

              I hose the whole thing off when I'm done and it's handling that.
              friend of bar.ka


              • #8
                I happen to love Bobby's bridles for schoolin! Hold up great!


                • #9
                  The Dover Suffolk's are surprisingly nice for their price, especially the fancy stitched one.


                  • #10
                    I love my Bobby's bridle also


                    • #11
                      I have a Stubben and it's really beautiful. Nice leather and has held up very well. I do show in it too....

                      The brow band and flash are not a part of the bridle.....
                      Live in the sunshine.
                      Swim in the sea.
                      Drink the wild air.


                      • #12
                        I don't own a nunn finer bridle, but I would certainly consider taking a look at these based on the awesome inexpensive stirrup leathers from them that I own. I paid $50 for the leathers - they are lined, have oiled up beautifully and have just barely stretched in the 9 months I have owned them. If the bridles are as nice as these leathers, they would definitely be worth the money.
                        My blog: Journeys in Riding


                        • #13
                          I've heard really great things about the Smartpak bridles- probably going to get one for myself soon! I've had a Crosby bridle for probably four years now- I haven't been particularly "nice" to it and it's held up really well and is a nice dark color- I use it on all the random rides that don't have a bridle, etc. I think it was around $200 maybe? But I'd definitely check ebay! I'm so particular about leather quality, but can't justify spending $600+ on a schooling bridle when my horse eats the reins lol. I got a gorgeous raised/fancy stitched Edgewood bridle/martingale for around $200 and it was barely used. There is currently a padded/raised/fancy stitched Hadfields figure eight for $215 and I'm very very tempted! Premier tack outlet carries nice bridles too.
                          "It's about the horse and that's it" - George Morris


                          • #14
                            If your going to be getting it grimy (swimming etc) on a regular basis, I would buy a cheap ($30) bridle for at home and a nicer ($150) for showing.


                            • #15
                              I second the ebay notion, but I also really like the Dover Circuit Bridle I picked up. I have the unpadded square raised version and it's quite nice. I did swap out the reins to my ADT ones, but the bridle looks great and holds up quite nicely. I'm not a fan of the padded version for whatever reason, too mcuh leather IMO, and it oiled up just lovely.


                              • #16
                                I got a Collegiate bridle free for winning an intercollegiate class back in my college riding days, and it has held up surprisingly well as a schooling bridle. I did & still do condition it pretty regularly, and clean it after every use, so I can't speak to whether or not it would hold up to someone who didn't do that... No idea about the swimming either.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by FSU Girl View Post
                                  The Dover Suffolk's are surprisingly nice for their price, especially the fancy stitched one.
                                  I agree. And if you condition them properly, well, *whisper it* but....

                                  I'm starting to like mine more than I like my Vespucci.

                                  With the exception of the reins; I'd for sure swap those out for something higher quality.

                                  BTW, pattnic, I watched y'all online at the Dixie Cup, you looked great!
                                  "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                                  • #18
                                    i have a smartpak bridle that is really nice and holding up well.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Originally posted by War Admiral View Post
                                      BTW, pattnic, I watched y'all online at the Dixie Cup, you looked great!
                                      If we have to nail on talent, it's not talent.
                                      Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous


                                      • #20
                                        I have the suffolk flash bridle and honestly its not too shabby!
                                        Its not great leather but it has held up really well and looks pretty good from afar.